Former President Donald Trump, once memorialized in Israel on a coin for leading America to move its embassy to Jerusalem and brokering the Abraham Accords, sharply criticized Israel’s prime minister.
Trump’s comments were made on Wednesday evening during a rally in West Palm Beach, Florida.
The presidential candidate shared that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “let us down” when he did not take part in the operation in early 2020 to kill a top Iranian general — and called Hezbollah “very smart” within hours “after the Lebanon-based terror group fired missiles at Israeli troops.”
“When we took out [Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani],” Trump said. “We knew where he was. We knew how he was coming in. We knew the plane, we knew everything. We worked on it for weeks, for months, actually,” Trump said.
In January 2020 Trump said of Soleimani: “He was a very bad guy, very smart guy, but a very bad guy.”
“And Israel was going to do this with us and it was being planned and working on it for months and now we had everything all set to go. And the night before it happened, I got a call that Israel will not be participating in this attack,” Trump claimed, adding that “nobody’s heard this story before” and joking that it might be classified.
Trump shared that he ordered the attack on Soleimani and was never told why Israel reportedly backed out at the last moment. Trump called Netanyahu’s decision “a terrible thing.”
“I’ll never forget — I’ll never forget that Bibi Netanyahu let us down,” Trump said. “That was a very terrible thing.”
At the rally, Trump, 77, criticized Israeli and U.S. government officials for Wednesday’s attack from Lebanon by Hezbollah, Iranian-backed jihadists.
Trump blasted the Biden administration and Israeli officials for publicly noting several vulnerabilities in Israel’s defenses, speculating that those comments encouraged Hezbollah’s attack.
The New York Post reported that within hours, Hezbollah celebrated killing Israeli troops after firing anti-tank missiles into the Jewish state.
Trump said: “Two nights ago, I read all of Biden’s security people, can you imagine, national defense people, and they said, ‘Gee, I hope Hezbollah doesn’t attack from the north, because that’s the most vulnerable spot,’” Trump told the crowd. “I said, ‘Wait a minute.’ You know, Hezbollah is very smart. They’re all very smart.”
Saturday’s attack was led by Hamas and involved some members of ISIS. Hamas is a terrorist group that controls the Gaza Strip, which is just south of Israel. On Wednesday, Hezbollah, based in Lebanon, located just north of Israel, launched a series of attacks on Israel.
Trump also claimed that Israeli Defense Force (IDF) officials made significant mistakes in not anticipating the attacks, saying: “They have a national defense minister or somebody saying, ‘I hope Hezbollah doesn’t attack us from the north.’ So the following morning, they attacked.”
“They might not have been doing it,” Trump said, “but if you listen to this jerk, you would attack from the north, because he said, ‘That’s our weak spot,’ Whoever heard of officials saying on television that they hope the enemy doesn’t attack in a certain area?”
The former president concluded his remarks on Israel by saying America must support Israel. “We have to protect Israel,” Trump said rhetorically. “There’s no choice,” Trump said. “And why do we have to do it? [Netanyahu] has been hurt very badly because of what’s happened here. He was not prepared. He was not prepared and Israel was not prepared.”
Trump went on to suggest that if he were president, the U.S. would have detected and prevented the terrorist attack in Israel.
“And under Trump, they wouldn’t have had to be prepared,” he said, adding, “We will not let them fail.”
Trump’s comments can be viewed below:
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